Posted by: gravessack | June 11, 2018

Bringing In Reinforcements

It is two-and-a-half months into the season, and the Twins are barely afloat. Thanks to a weak AL Central, they are still in the race. But, recent happenings have the organization nervous and looking for answers quickly. Cleveland’s slumber has ended as they are racking up wins and the Twins have injuries galore. The Twins front office knows that the offense needs to wake up to support the solid pitching. In the last several weeks, General Manager Thad Levine has bolstered the roster depth.

To kick things off, on May 4, the Twins signed left-handed pitcher Paco Rodriguez to a minor-league deal. Rodriguez debuted in 2012 with the Dodgers, throwing in 11 games. The 27-year-old appeared in 76 games a year after, pitching to a 3-4 mark and striking out 76. 2014 and 2015 were rough for him, as he pitched just 24.1 innings between the two years. Rodriguez missed all of 2016 because of a bone spur. Since the signing, he has a 3.68 ERA in 14.2 innings with two teams.

The Twins then swung a trade May 23 to get Chris Carter from the Angels, and immediately sent him to Triple-A Rochester. The eight-year veteran, who can play either first base or outfield, has some pop in his bat. After a rough three years in Oakland, Carter hit 37 home runs with the Astros in 2014. Two years later with Milwaukee, he slugged 41 home runs. Carter had just an average year in New York last season. On the negative side, Carter is very prone to strikeouts, as he has 951 in his career. The 31-year-old is hoping for a rejuvenation and to show what he can do with the Twins.

Four days later, the club sent depleting pitcher Phil Hughes to San Diego in exchange for catcher Janigson Villalobos. Hughes’ Twins tenure dwindled fast as he was struggling, and therefore, was put in the pen. Running into little opportunities to use him, they designated him for assignment and ultimately traded him. In Villalobos, the Twins get a catcher if they need one. He had 44 hits in two years in the Padres minor league system. Villalobos seems to be sidelined now, and is currently playing for the Gulf Coast League Twins.

The next day, on May 27, the Twins claimed shortstop Taylor Motter from Seattle. A three-year veteran in the league, Motter came up with Tampa Bay in 2016. During his first year in the majors, he batted just .188 in 93 plate appearances. He was traded to Seattle after one year. Motter’s 2017 debut season with the Mariners was a little more productive. In 92 games, Motter hit .198 and delivered 51 hits. Motter has not been in the majors much this season, playing in just seven games. The 28-year-old has played in eight games in Rochester since being traded to the Twins.

Their final addition, which will help bolster the catching department, came on June 8. The Twins signed catcher Cameron Rupp to a minor league deal.  Rupp debuted in 2013, appearing in 4 games. Having spent his entire career in Philadelphia, he has seen limited playing time. In his first three years in the NL, the 29-year-old played in 103 games. However, in 2016, Rupp’s 105 games produced a .252 average and 98 hits. Last season, he got into 88 games, hitting 14 home runs. Rupp will try to get back to the majors by improving his stroke at Triple-A.

These five players are hoping to contribute to their new club this year. Personally, I really want to see what Carter can do as he has the best potential out of the bunch. He can bring more power to the lineup. Meanwhile, Rupp will be a great asset that will probably be brought up sooner rather then later, especially if Mitch Garver and Bobby Wilson falter.

The Twins sit in third place at 28-34 in a very winnable division – it is time for them to get going!

Written by: Michael L. Sack

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Responses

  1. Not feeling very reinforced by the names mentioned (especially at catcher.) We have a big hole that could use some 2×4 and sheetrock. We got a putty knife with a bit of spackle on it.

  2. Very good read, I see the above names more as “Band’aids” than anything else, providing position depth and little else.


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